Selecting a belt for a conveyor is like deciding which tire is best for the road. Baked foods and snacks can travel on all types of surfaces ranging from a flat belt to modular plastic to a metal or wire one. Some are rugged, others are all-weather, and nearly every one of them guarantees a smooth ride.

Then again, does the style of conveyor determine the type of belt?

“It is the other way around,” said Bobby Martin, executive product manager/director, conveying systems, AMF Bakery Systems. “The type of belt will impact the style of the conveyor. A typical difference resides in the application’s specific requirements.”

When it comes to determining the appropriate belt, many factors come into play. With flat belts, consider the nylon or rubber-substrate material’s ply or thickness, its cleaning methods, and any speed or temperature limitations, advised Steve Collison, senior account manager, MK North America.

For modular plastic, calculate the chain’s pitch and appraise the type of plastic — such as acetal, polyethylene and polypropylene — being used. Determine if the conveyor will be moving straight for long runs or need solid flexing for curves and turns. Don’t forget to check belting for its use in extreme heat or cold.

“The conveyor is an avenue on which belting will run, so it is important to match the belt with the conveyor to keep both running harmoniously,” Mr. Collison said. “It is also important to match the belt with the product. Sticky products require belts with excellent release characteristics, whereas hot, dry products may require a belt that can withstand certain temperatures.”

Read more: Matching the proper belt to the right conveyor